Data Blackout

DATA BLACKOUT | 2012-present |

News article about DATA BLACKOUT 2014. 

“Each of us is now a walking data generator.” - McAfee and Brynjolfsson for Harvard Business Review

Instructions performed by the artist and participants:

  • Transmit no traceable data for 24 hours.
  • No cell phone, no internet, no key fobs, no debit or credit cards, no TV may be used during this time.
  • Perform all usual activities to the best of your ability.
  • Send your response to the project (whether or not you blacked-out) to or Sarah Berkeley, 5000 Saint Paul Ave, Lincoln, NE 68504.


DATA BLACKOUT is a participatory event that takes place annually in the United States and internationally.

The spaces where DATA BLACKOUT is held become blank spots in the masses of data transmission as inhabitants of the space turn off all digital devices that transmit a signal. Participants and non-participants are requested to write about their experiences of DATA BLACKOUT and send them to the artist. The artist collects these consciously transmitted pieces of data to present in a future exhibition. By sending this data to the artist, the writer gives the artist full permission to use their written document in print, on the internet and in exhibitions.


In the developed world, we voluntarily (and often unknowingly) feed data about our locations, tastes, relationships, consumption habits, finances into the ether through Facebook, email, Internet browsing, cell phones, key fobs, debit cards and other devices. This data is being collected and analyzed by many for-profit companies as well as governments. Various new outlets have covered the Prisim Project while the National Security Agency is built the Utah Data Center, a gigantic facility to store and study this data gathered from domestic surveillance. DATA BLACKOUT invites people to experiment with what life would be like without volunteering all of this information about ourselves.